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'The most phenomenal challenges' - what do Norfolk MPs think of Boris Johnson as prime minister?

Boris Johnson at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London where he was announced as the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/P/A Wire

Boris Johnson at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London where he was announced as the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/P/A Wire

Norfolk's MPs have urged Boris Johnson to sort out Brexit so the country can move on to other pressing issues.

Jeremy Hunt (second left) congratulates Boris Johnson (second right) at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London where he was announced as the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/P/A WireJeremy Hunt (second left) congratulates Boris Johnson (second right) at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London where he was announced as the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/P/A Wire

Mr Johnson was elected as leader of the Conservative Party yesterday and will become the country's prime minister today.

He won 92,153 votes in the contest, where 159,320 Tory members cast their ballots - a turnout of 87.4pc.

And he said it was "an extraordinary honour and privilege" to be elected Tory leader.

Today he will name his cabinet, with announcements expected to come this evening, and one of those in the running is South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss.

Ms Truss, who represents South West Norfolk and was chief secretary to the Treasury under Theresa May, was the first cabinet minister to back Mr Johnson and will expect a plum job in the new government for her dedication.

Ms Truss has made no secret of the fact she would like to be the first woman chancellor of the exchequer, but that is a highly-contested job which others will also be looking to bag.

Her competitors include West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock and Sajid Javid, and Ms Truss may instead be promoted to business secretary.

But fellow west Norfolk Tory Sir Henry Bellingham said he would back Ms Truss for the job.

Boris Johnson speaks at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London after being announced as the  new Conservative party leader and next Prime Minister. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA WireBoris Johnson speaks at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London after being announced as the new Conservative party leader and next Prime Minister. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

He said: "It would be the best thing to ever happen for Norfolk."

Celebrating yesterday Ms Truss said: "From Wednesday the United Kingdom will have a new prime minister who has the drive and energy to deliver Brexit, to ensure a successful and dynamic Britain."

There will also be eyes on Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth and party chairman. It has been speculated that Brexit minister James Cleverly, MP for Braintree, could take the job.

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Mr Lewis said he thought Mr Johnson's victory speech was "a really good, strong positive speech".

Keith Simpson, MP for Broadland, controversially voted against his party for the first time in 22 years last week as he said he could not trust Mr Johnson.

Yesterday he said: "I do wonder whether he knows what he's got himself in to. It was quite American to see the whole Johnson family there - apart from his children and his lady friend [Carrie Symonds]."

Mr Simpson said he would be looking over the next few days at policy announcements beyond Brexit but said he would "observe [his] colleagues with a degree of wry amusement" as they waited by their phones wondering if they would get spots in the new government.

But many other Norfolk Tories had thrown their weight behind the new leader.

Mid Norfolk's George Freeman, who backed Mr Johnson late on in the contest, said: "I believe he will now bring the energy, passion, and vision we need to now reunite and re-inspire the rest of the country, divided and dispirited by three years of Brexit civil war with a bold programme of One Nation reforms to give people hope again, and ensure we keep the Marxist Corbyn New left out of power."

While Sir Henry added: "He now has a really great opportunity, I know he's got the most phenomenal challenges of any peace time prime minister ever."

Sir Henry said Mr Johnson had a huge amount of talent and intellect, and pointed to his time as London mayor as proof of his successes.

North West Norfolk Conservative MP Sir Henry Bellingham Photo: UK ParliamentNorth West Norfolk Conservative MP Sir Henry Bellingham Photo: UK Parliament

But he warned he must not get bogged down in micromanagement if he was to be successful.

Richard Bacon, MP for South Norfolk, said: "My main concern is we need to get rid of the issue of Brexit as soon as possible, there are many other things we want to talk about, for example housing is a very big issue, and Boris is aware of it as I've spoken to him about it. There is simply not enough housing."

Chloe Smith, who represents Norwich North, is currently on maternity leave but had declared her support for Mr Johnson during the contest.

On the other side of the party divide Sir Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk, tweeted: "Dismal prospect having Boris Johnson as our Prime Minister. Demeans our country."

Great Yarmouth Norfolk Conservative MP Brandon Lewis Photo: UK ParliamentGreat Yarmouth Norfolk Conservative MP Brandon Lewis Photo: UK Parliament

While Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South, said: "I find it extremely difficult to have anything other than trepidation for the future of our country."

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